Date of Award
Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
In the Tagalog language, matingkad is used when describing colors or light. Its English translation, flamboyant, usually describes a character of a person - a queer, performer, drag?
People have called me flamboyant due to the way I dress, my gestures, and how I approach my work. Because of this, I have experience discrimination and abuse towards my race and gender, as well as my citizenship status. Therefore I have learned to begin employing flamboyance to be opaque (matingkad na kulay).
With this experience, I had to adjust the opacity of my body as a way of survival by learning how to camouflage and shapeshift. These strategies are seen in my paintings, installations, weavings, and performance. My work became matingkad. They became generative as if they are growing, in scale, textures, physical structures, and patterns. The scale, textures, physical structures, and patterns are used as a framing device to make it difficult for spectators to figure out my identity, identification, movements, and intentions when performing or displaying a work.
My paintings became a haven for exploration. It gave me freedom to experiment, fail, learn, and play with various colors. My weaving grounded my Filipino roots. It became a portal to home, ancestors, and spirituality. My installation is a protective device that attempts to disrupt viewers' access to my stories, histories, and community. All of these approaches to artmaking are influenced by lived experiences, family histories, and current events.
Alan, Bhen, "Matingkad - Flamboyant" (2022). Masters Theses. 898.
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View exhibition online: Bhen Alan, Touch Me Not